US stocks advance this week amid positive data

U.S. stocks gained for the week, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to record high levels, as release of data fueled concern the Federal Reserve could scale back stimulus as soon as this year.

The S&P 500 added 0.5% to 1,770.61 over the five days, extending the benchmark index’s raise to a fifth straight week, the longest advance since February 15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 146.23 points, or 0.9%, which helped the gauge to close the week at a record 15,761.78.

Stocks reacted after Fed officials said in two separate papers the central bank should maintain a loose monetary policy to support economic growth. The S&P 500 fell 1.3% the following day, its biggest decline since August, as data showed GDP exceeded expectations in the third quarter. The index erased that loss on the final day of the week as a Labor Department report showed payrolls increased more than forecast in October.

“We’re getting closer to that point where the markets are not going to be completely dependent upon Fed stimulus,” Erik Davidson, the San Francisco-based deputy chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank, said by phone to Bloomberg. “You have these all-time highs, combine that with a correction-less rally – people are a little bit on edge.” he added.

In weekly corporate recap, Twitter gained 60% to $41.65 over two days, surging 73% on its market first day and retreating 7.2% on Friday. The short-messaging service, while unprofitable, is benefiting from investors’ interest for companies that will grow quickly in expanding markets like mobile advertising.

Microsoft Corp. added 6.3% to $37.78. Rick Sherlund, a Nomura analyst, increased his share-price forecast to $45 from $40, citing potential changes under a new chief executive officer, such as disposal of Bing search engine and Xbox game console.

Tesla, the electric-car maker led by Elon Musk, slumped 15% to $137.95 after reporting vehicle sales that didnt exceed estimates. One of the company’s Model S sedans caught fire after an accident in Tennessee, the third such incident in five weeks.

U.S. Steel jumped 7% to $27.59, while AK Steel Holding Corp. increased 17% to $5.38. Both stocks were raised to “buy” from “sell” by Goldman Sachs analyst Sal Tharani. Demand for American steel is heading to a “sustainable recovery” according to Tharani.

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